December 17, 2021
Minister for Finance should claw back subsidies to companies that paid out dividends to shareholders – Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD has called on the Minister for Finance to claw back subsidies paid to companies that paid out dividends to shareholders while receiving financial support from the state.

On March 23rd 2020, the Donegal TD wrote to the Minister for Finance requesting that strict conditionality be attached to financial assistance provided to companies so that government support was not used to secure dividends for shareholders.  

Teachta Doherty said:

“The revelations that companies that received financial assistance from the state and taxpayer during the pandemic paid out dividends to shareholders are unacceptable and disappointing.

“Workers who have lost their jobs, or had their pay cut under the wage subsidy scheme, will be rightly outraged that public money has been siphoned off to shareholders.

“Responsibility for this lies squarely with the Minister for Finance and the Minister alone.

“On March 23rd 2020, I wrote to the Minister requesting strict conditionality be placed on all financial assistance provided by the state to companies during the pandemic.

“That included ensuring that financial support did not find its way to shareholders through dividends.

“The Minister put no such safeguards in place.

“Two actions must now follow.

“Firstly, Revenue, under direction of the Minister, must carry out a thorough audit of all companies that paid dividends out to shareholders while in receipt of financial assistance, whether through the wage subsidy scheme, CRSS, or other supports.

“Secondly, the Minister must then ensure that the public money paid out to these companies and their shareholders is recouped in full.

“In case the Minister is tempted to say he cannot turn black the clock, I would remind him that he did just that to tax people who received the Pandemic Unemployment Payment despite the payment being non-taxable by law for 20 weeks until August 5th.

“If the Minister could plough ahead with retrospectively taxing those who lost their jobs, he can put the same effort into clawing back public money from shareholders who used corporate bailout to line their pockets.”

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